In Praise of Truth: The Personal Account of Theodore Marklund, Picture-Framer

Torgny Lindgren, Author, Tom Geddes, Translator
Torgny Lindgren, Author, Tom Geddes, Translator Harvill Press $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-00-271255-2
Reviewed on: 02/27/1995
Release date: 03/01/1995
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Veering from absurdist farce to social satire, this dazzlingly inventive, entertaining novel from Swedish author Lindgren (Light) plays relentlessly upon the theme of authenticity and artifice, illusion and reality. After picture framer/art dealer Theodor Marklund buys at auction The Madonna with the Dagger, this high-priced symbolic canvas, painted in 1919, is confiscated by tax officials. But then a shady art collector known only as ``Goatee'' returns the painting--or a forgery--to Markland. Others lay claim to The Madonna, including the son of the woman who posed for it, and Marklund's greedy ex-girlfriend. As Marklund's life spins into in a web of falsehood and deception, a similar fate befalls his friend Paula, a pop-music superstar who is having an affair with her plastic surgeon. Nothing is what it appears to be--not The Madonna itself, nor Marklund's artificial hand, nor the presumed suicide of Paula's manager, whom she may have pushed out the window. Loaded with scattershot allusions to Heidegger, Dali, Madonna, Baudelaire, Bach, Schopenhauer and Barbara Cartland, this post-Pop fable spoofs the mass media's fabrication of reality as it ponders the abyss between modern art and life. (May)
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